Tarbat Ness from Porthmahomack
County/Area - Highland - Central Highland
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 9.0 miles / 14.6 km Ascent - 500 feet / 152 metres
Time - 5 hours 0 minutes Grade - moderate
|Ordnance Survey Explorer 438
|Anquet OS Explorer 438
Walk Route Description
Click image to see photo description.
This walk from the quiet fishing village of Portmahomack explores the low-lying Tarbat Peninsula which juts out into the North Sea between the Dornoch Firth and the Moray Firth. The route offers superb views across the Dornoch Firth, passes the lighthouse providing guidance for shipping in these often-treacherous waters and in Spring offers the chance to see breeding seabirds.
The start is the car park behind the beach in Porthmahomack (grid ref. NH914842). After parking walk north (sea to left) and continue to the small harbour. Continue past the harbour to reach the end of the road with a row of bungalows on your right. Bear left and pass through the gate to join a grassy path. In places the path fades so keep close to the rocky shore soon passing through another gate. Continue along the shore to cross a stile.
As you head north, enjoy the views across Dornoch Forth towards the Caithness coast. Reaching a fence running parallel to the coast, stay on the left-hand side of the fence to reach a small both and a selection of rusty anchors. Continue along a grassy track bearing right through gorse where the track forks (grid ref. NH925870). Pass through a gate and follow the top of bank for about two kilometres passing a lochan on your right to reach a fence across the path (NH942876). Turn right and with fence on your right past small plantation to a wall. Turn right along the wall to reach a road (grid ref. NH943872).
Turn left along the road to a gate. Pass through the gate and continue along the track past the lighthouse to reach Tarbat Ness. In fine weather, it is a splendid place for a break and to spend some time taking in the glorious view. Retrace your steps back past the lighthouse and through the gate onto the public road. Pass the small car park on the left and continue to a T-junction. Turn left (path signed to Rockfield 5km) and continue down to a small cottage and a quay. Just before the quay (grid ref. NH944872), turn right through a gate to join the coast path.
Follow the path south and bear right to cross Tigh na Creige headland before returning to the shoreline. After three kilometres you pass restored Ballone Castle on your right. Stay on the shore and continue ahead with the community of Rockfield coming into view. Continue beside the sea to reach a road in Rockfield (grid ref. NH924830). Turn right and follow the lane across the peninsula and back to Portmahomack.
Other walks nearby
|Ben Bhraggie traverse
|Morven, Smean & Maiden Pap
|Ben Wyvis (western approach)
|Little Wyvis ascent from near Garve
|Sandend to Cullen Coast Path
|Moray Coast Trail - Cullen to Portessie
|Carn Daimh from Glenlivet
|Abernethy Forest, Cairngorms
|Ladder Hills Circular
Recommended Books & eBooks
Walking the Munros Vol 2 - Northern Highlands and the Cairngorms
Guidebook to walking the northern Munros, covering the northern Highlands, the Cairngorms and the Isle of Skye. 70 routes are described, including those up Ben Macdui, Braeriach and Cairn Gorm. Routes range from 7 to 46km, requiring a fair level of fitness. The second of two guidebooks to walking Scotland's Munros: peaks higher than 3000ft.
Great Mountain Days in Scotland
Inspirational guidebook to 50 challenging routes for mountaineers, scramblers, hillwalkers and fell runners, many long enough to backpack over 2 days, especially in winter (12 to 25 miles). A mix of classic routes and unsung gems across Scotland from Galloway to the Outer Hebrides in widely differing wild landscapes. With customised OS mapping.